Quest For Family Essay

906 Words 4 Pages
                     The Quest for Family

     The 1950’s were a decade of growth and expansion. Growth of the middle class, expansion of religion and a growing economy kept Americans on the move- literally. Families were moving from the cities and into the suburbs. “This massive shift in population from the central city was accompanied by a baby boom that started during World War II. Young married couples began to have three, four, or even five children (compared with only one or two children in American families during the 1930’s) (The American Story, pg. 729). This style of living began making the immediate
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732). With all of this materialistic, religious and economic growth, the American Identity seemed to look like it was cut out of a cookie cutter- everyone seemed to be conforming to the same ideal- but that about those who did not have that “cookie cutter” life?
     Jack Kerouac was one of these people who were not living the typical American life. He and others like him were labeled as the “beats” because they “walked to the beat of a different drum” in comparison to the ideal. His book On the Road was the beginning of what is known now as the beat movement, telling of his adventures of traveling across America for seven years. What was he searching for on this journey and why? I am going to argue that Kerouac was searching for a family and that his search was fueled by the 50’s mindset.
     “I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up.” This was the first sentence of Kerouac’s story and it definitely sets the stage for the first thing he is searching for: family. Kerouac’s “fictional” character “Sal Paradise” ( I say “fictional” because really Sal is Kerouac- he reveals his thoughts and feelings through this character) is immediately intrigued with Dean, and Sal is searching for companionship in Dean. Unfortunately, when Dean met Carlo Marx,

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